By Roman Kilun The Elite National Road Race was held in a beautiful wooded and hilly park in the farm lands of Wisconsin with the finish atop the tallest point in the state. The race was a relatively short 140k of 6 laps, but the hills and the heat would make for a tough selective day. The first few laps where rather odd and not particularly memorable. The only breakaway of note was teammate Eric Riggs who was solo for the first portion of the first lap. Throughout the first half of the race Team Mike's Bikes p/b Incase stayed attentive and focused on hydrating with Osmo.
In the middle of the third lap there was a big split in the field over a steep kicker. Shawn and I were slightly caught out and he did a great job closing the gap. At that point I knew that the next ascent of the main climb would be decisive. Therefore I put myself in the best possible position and prepared to suffer. As expected the strong guys made there move and group of five split clear of the shattering field. I was close to making it but got caught in traffic and was not on the wheels of the escape. Luckily, I was in good company as Leece, Santos and one other rider were making a desperate effort to bridge over the top.
On the descent we joined forces and made a mad drive to get across. Once across the group was eight and we had to work. The gap slowly stretched out to a 1:30 over the 4th lap. On the 5th lap Cole House somehow bridged with another rider. It's never good to add riders to a breakaway yet it was nice to have the additional horsepower as the wind continued to kick up.
The breakaway started the final lap with a 1:50 lead and continued to work smoothly until the midway point where Cole House threw down a blistering attack. Only the Elbowz rider followed the wheel but I was able to work with Leece to get across without much drama. This gave me some confidence for the finish as the other riders appeared to be struggling. The remainder of the lap was uneventful as we sized each other up and prepared for the climb to the finish which included an extra 1 kilometer pitch from the normal circuit. Up to this point I was perfectly confident and was dreaming of a podium spot. However, as we started to climb I felt the twitches of a cramp in my quads and knew I had to be very careful. Often, I can prevent a full on cramp by avoiding any sharp accelerations.
Things were going according to plan until Leece attacked mid way up the climb. Surprisingly there was not much reaction but the pace went up significantly. The group started to shatter under the pressure and it was every man for himself to the finish line, which I crossed in 8th place. I would have loved to do better but it is a result that I am very proud of and have no regrets of how I rode the race. My equipment was perfect and the support of Team Mike's Bikes p/b Incase is more than I could ask for.